Engagement Intensive

Wednesday | 1:15 - 4:30 PM

Reimagine: Ancient Wisdom through Modern Tools 

In this special three-hour session, leading thinkers will illuminate, agitate, and inspire lay and professional congregational leaders at all levels about the purpose of religious life, current trends in North America’s religious landscape, and new ways individuals are finding spiritual homes. The concepts of belonging and becoming as vehicles for this work also will be discussed. There will be a combination of teaching, and small group exercises. Intended for leaders of all kinds: presidents, treasurers, committee members, clergy, educators, staff and teens.

  • Reverend Sue Phillips 

  • Casper ter Kuile 

Thursday | 9:00 - 10:15 AM

Relationsip Driven Approaches to Fundraising (Track A)

Congregational fundraising is can be a sacred and meaningful process for donors, clergy, staff, and lay volunteers if it focuses on successful strategies that are relationship-driven and built over time. Using a case study from Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, VA, this session will explore the components of a successful partnership among clergy, staff, and board, as well as the tools and skills needed to develop a relational approach to holy giving.

  • Rabbi Amy Schwartzman, Senior Rabbi, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, VA

  • Hannah Moore, Director of Philanthropy, Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, VA

Thursday | 9:00 - 10:15 AM

A New Approach to Relational Engagement (Track B)

Relational engagement embraces new ways to gather, interact, and connect in congregational settings. In this session, three practitioners of relational engagement, from inside and beyond the congregational arena, will help participants visualize a culture of belonging or re-envision space already available for relationship building in the community.

  • Catherine Fischer

  • Rachel Gildiner 

  • Rabbi Bethie Miller

  • Wendy Verba 

Thursday | 2:00 - 3:15 PM

Developing a Culture of Giving (Track A)

This session – designed for trustees, lay leaders in finance and development, and clergy and staff – will explore how to create a culture of giving and will highlight tools and strategies congregations can use to shift their culture toward giving.

  • Rabbi Louis Feldstein 

Thursday | 2:00 - 3:15 PM

An Introduction to Small Groups for Your Congregation (Track B)

What are “small groups” and why should your congregation consider experimenting with them? This introductory session will help answer these and other essential questions, including how to use listening campaigns as an on-ramp to small groups.

  • Rabbi Nicole Auerbach 

  • Alexandra Horn

  • Mike Sims 

  • Andy Harkavy

Thursday | 2:00 - 5:00 PM

Designing Congregational Experiences (Track C)

Ever wondered what it  would be like to design the activities and programs of congregational life through the eyes of the people in your pews, rather than from the perspective of the board or the clergy? What would it look like if we took the tools of curiosity and empathy to create new questions and new answers to Jewish life in congregations? Please join us for this special 3 hour-intensive with Abby Fifer Mandell, a leading expert at the University of Southern California in human-centered design. Human-Centered Design has become an incredibly popular framework for problem-solving in spiritual communities, classrooms, and boardrooms. In this highly interactive session, participants will  learn some of the tools of this approach, and how it can provide a new frame for the sacred work of community building.

  • Abby Fifer Mandell

Thursday | 3:45 - 5:00 PM

It’s All in the “Why:” Developing a Narrative for Financial Support of Your Congregation (Track A)

A narrative that shows the purpose and effectiveness of your congregation is essential for successful fundraising. This session will review several outstanding narratives, and congregational leaders will begin to develop the narratives of their own communities. The intended audience for this session are board members, committee members, clergy and staff, and anyone who has a vested interest in understanding your congregation's story is a key to success.

  • Rachel Schachter, Director of Advancement, Temple Israel, Minneapolis, MN  

Thursday | 3:45 - 5:00 PM

Developing Small Group Leaders: Best Principles and Practices (Track B)

Small groups and other relational engagement tools rely on volunteer guides and coaches for success. Learn best principles and practices for identifying, recruiting, training, and developing leaders – for small groups and for throughout your congregation.

  • Rabbi Lydia Medwin 

  • Rabbi Jill Perlman 

  • Rabbi Asher Knight

Friday | 9:00 - 10:15 AM

An Introduction to Planned and Legacy Giving (Track A)

Geared for congregations of all sizes, this session will inform leaders about the purpose and strategy for planned and legacy giving, taking the first steps toward financial sustainability, and how to create the most effective lay/staff partnerships.

  • Francie Miran, Director of Development, Temple Emanuel, Denver, CO

Friday | 9:00 - 10:15 AM

What’s Next? Successfully Sustaining Small Groups in Your Congregation (Track B)

Your congregation recently completed a year of small groups. Now what? Learn how the model can sustain itself, ensuring they won’t fizzle in a couple of years. What must change culturally for small groups to stick as a vehicle for connection and transformation?

  • Rabbi Nicole Auerbach

  • Rabbi Lydia Medwin

  • Rabbi Bethie Miller 

  • Rabbi Asher Knight

Friday | 2:00 - 3:15 PM

Experiments in Engagement: Lessons from the Field (Track C)

Curious how leaders in existing congregations are playing with new models of engagement outside the walls of the congregation?  Interested to learn how congregations, both small and large, are reaching new audiences? Join us as we learn about experiments, both in large and small congregations, that are making a difference in the lives of individuals and families.

  • Rabbi Joel Simon

  • Rabbi Miriam Terlinchamp 

Friday | 2:00 - 3:15 PM

Relational Engagement: Join the Conversation

This session offers an ideal opportunity for synagogue leaders to join conversations or discussions that apply to their congregation. Perhaps it’s a discussion about putting together a leadership team for small groups, or a conversation about the initial steps to take in building a more relational culture. Or, maybe you have an idea for a topic we haven’t considered.

  • Rabbi Nicole Auerbach

  • Rabbi Lydia Medwin

  • Rabbi Bethie Miller

  • Rachel Schachter 


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